George Washington knew that soldiers will fight and die for recognition in the form of bits of metal and swatches of cloth, and he created the original Purple Heart award out of cloth, dubbing it the “Badge of Military Merit” and presented it to three brave revolutionary war soldiers:
It was only years later that the Purple heat became a medal for being wounded:
Washington authorized several other “badges of honor” for soldiers, the original chevrons for PFC’s and corporals:
“Honorary Badges of distinction are to be conferred on the veteran Non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the army who have served more than three years with bravery, fidelity and good conduct; for this purpose a narrow piece of white cloth of an angular form is to be fixed to the left arm on the uniform Coat.
Non commissioned officers and soldiers who have served with equal reputation more than six years are to be distinguished by two pieces of cloth set in parallel to each other in a similar form”
These later became the stripes that enlished people wear:
It’s interesting how different generals viewed the giving of military awards:
Napoleon said that soldiers fight for bits of metal and cloth and with enough bolts of cloth he could rule the world.
Robert E. Lee on the other hand did not like medals. He said that all of his men were heroes . . .